Since he took over the Late Night show from David Letterman in 1993 after being a writer on SNL and The Simpsons, Conan has been a mainstay in late night television. He is to an entire generation what Dave was to the previous. The guy is so popular and beloved by fans that when news broke that Jay Leno was possibly taking back The Tonight Show from Conan, fans began protesting around the country, some at the NBC lot in California and some outside 30 Rock. He went on an incredibly successful live tour when he contractually couldn’t be on television and before finally ending up on TBS at 11 PM, where he has been since 2010.
Conan fans may have gotten nervous recently as rumors began to circulate that Conan may be transitioning from a nightly show to a weekly show which would be detrimental to fans who have made him a part of their nightly routine. It’s not highly unbelievable that TBS would cut down a show; remember when Conan came to TBS he wasn’t the only talk show on the network, George Lopez had a show on as well and we have more late night talk shows now than ever before, so anything is possible.
There is good news though, members of Team Coco. TBS President Kevin Reilly spoke with the Hollywood Reporter where he said the show will continue with “business as usual” and they “have a deal with Conan through 2018, and you can anticipate it will be renewed beyond that; we’re going to be in business with him for a long time.” But in what capacity?
Reilly brings up all of the projects that Conan is currently doing with TBS which include producing the show People of Earth, an online interview segment that gets a little more in-depth called “Serious Jibber-Jabber”, he is the face of TBS at Comic Con, he’s involved with a new show based on a recurring segment on his talk show called “The Clueless Gamer” and he’s doing some serious remote specials that usually get him a bump in the ratings. Reilly makes the point that Conan is doing a lot right now with the company and with the media world changing. As Conan’s involvement in other projects grows, his talk show could shrink. But, he says, “if we were to cut it back, that would be because of the volume of other things we’re in is even more demanding and the sum total of that activity, we think, would be offsetting”.
This is where a Conan fan has some serious thinking to do. Would you rather have Conan every night from 11 – 12, or would you like to see him involved in a bunch of things spread all over and partially behind the scenes?
Now, when you think of him as helping put together new shows, developing new content and possibly finding comedy’s next superstars, there are some important facts to remember. He is a Harvard alumnus, President of the famous Harvard Lampoon and went on to write for SNL. As a writer for The Simpsons, he wrote “Marge vs The Monorail”, an episode of The Simpsons that not only do many consider the best episode of the series, but the one that completely changed it and helped shape the series for the future and turn it into what it is today. Is that not the kind of person you want helping create more comedy? What about the different writers that got some of their first big breaks working for Late Night like Louis C.K., Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel. Now, Wyatt Cenac is starring in the new show produced by Conan, “People of Earth”. As sad as it would be to see the end of a nightly mainstay, and the last of the old guard that we really still have since the new generation took over, isn’t this the perfect person to help make the future of comedy as bright as possible?
Fellow Conan fans, it would be nothing short of heartbreaking to end an almost 25-year tradition, nobody WANTS to see the show end its nightly schedule. The point is, this could have a positive outcome. If you don’t get Conan every night, wouldn’t you rather him be doing a weekly show while staying involved with the young rising stars? It’s better than just seeing random pictures of him on the beach with a beard or showing you his cars. Right now, many of the comedians starting to get their foot in the door in writers rooms’ and getting TV shows greenlit by studios are the same people who grew up with Conan as their Carson, their introduction to comedy. This could be an amazing thing for the art. For now, just tune in on weeknights at 11 PM and enjoy your goofy red head while he’s there.